Pac-12 Notes


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Pac-12 Notes

April 18th

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CU’s Rick George 7th in the Pac-12 in AD salaries

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … If Washington athletic director Jen Cohen isn’t the best value in the Pac-12, she’s on the top tier with … with … gimme a few days on that one.

In her two years on the job, Cohen has hired three Pac-12 Coach of the Year winners, including Mike Hopkins, and negotiated a $119 million deal with Adidas.

And now we find that Cohen isn’t merely the lowest-paid public school athletic director in the conference.

She’s also the lowest-paid public school AD in the Power Five based on department expenses.

This nugget comes via a report by Athletic Director U, whose authors reviewed the annual compensation packages of every athletic director in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC.

… The average in the Pac-12 is $755,119, with only Guerrero at nine figures.

UCLA’s Dan Guerrero: $1,083,779
OSU’s Scott Barnes: $937,508
Oregon’s Rob Mullens: $814,891
ASU’s Ray Anderson: $800,000
Colorado’s Rick George: $772,418
Utah’s Chris Hill: $763,600
WSU’s Patrick Chun: $675,000
Cal’s Mike Williams: $609,000 (outgoing)
Arizona’s Dave Heeke: $575,000
Washington’s Jen Cohen: $520,000

(Stanford and USC not listed … betting both are higher paid than Rick George)

Continue reading story here


April 17th

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Jon Wilner rates the top Pac-12 graduate transfers … Travon McMillian No. 3

From the San Jose Mercury News … The Hotline has been tracking Pac-12 graduate transfers throughout the winter and early spring, with far greater focus on incoming players than outgoing.

With respect to inflow, the 2018 transfer cycle appears to be one of the most significant the conference has experienced.

We’ve seen specific cases in recent years of grad transfers altering teams’ competitive trajectory …

3. Colorado TB Travon McMIllian (from Virginia Tech): Philip Lindsay’s departure left a crater in Colorado’s backfield (not only in production but also leadership). McMillian played a limited role for the Hokies in 2017 but finished his VaTech career with more than 2,000 yards rushing and topped 100 yards against both Miami and Tennessee. While not Lindsay’s equal as a receiver, McMillian should prove a vital complement to quarterback Steven Montez, especially given CU’s attrition at receiver.

2. Washington State QB Gardner Minshew (from East Carolina): When the transfer market opened early in the offseason, in the aftermath of Tyler Hilinski’s death, the Cougars didn’t have a quarterback with playing experience — a handful on the roster, and not a pass attempt between them. Minshew solves that issue: He threw for more than 3,000 yards during his ECU career and has experience against the likes of West Virginia and Virginia Tech. His presence could keep WSU competitive in the North.

1. UCLA QB Wilton Speight (from Michigan):Threw 22 touchdowns and more than 400 passes for the Wolverines but never elevated the offense to a championship-caliber level. The Bruins don’t need that from Speight: They simply need him to lift their offense to a postseason-caliber level in the first year of Chip Kelly’s overhaul. Speight could do that, and more: He just might be the bridge UCLA needs to redshirt Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a move that could pay immense dividends in future years. Just weeks after losing one grad transfer in K.J. Carta-Samuels, the Bruins found a better option. Speight just might be worth a spot or two in the South standings.

Read full list here

Cal running back Tre Watson looking to transfer to Texas

From YardBarker … Former Cal running back Tre Watson is being heavily recruited as a graduate transfer.

Watson announced on Twitter Monday that he will visit the Texas Longhorns on Friday.

On top of Texas, Watson is being recruited by LSU. He also had a visit with Texas Tech last weekend, and he visited New Mexico before that.

Watson was a star running back at Corona Centennial in high school before going to Cal. He had 600 yards and four touchdowns from scrimmage as a sophomore. He broke out in his junior season with 950 yards from scrimmage this past year.


April 16th

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Keith Jackson remembered at Rose Bowl ceremony

From ESPN … A few hundred family, friends and admirers said goodbye to the voice of college football, sportscaster Keith Jackson, on Sunday at the Rose Bowl.

Jackson provided a unique soundtrack for the sport for more than five decades before he retired in 2006. He died in January at the age of 89.

In the venue he stamped “The Granddaddy of Them All,” speakers shared their most memorable stories about their time spent with one of the most well-known voices in sports.

The two-hour memorial included a video montage of Jackson over a professional career spanning five decades, along with celebrities whose lives he touched through the years, including Kenny Chesney, Pete Carroll, J.J. Watt, Desmond Howard and Mark Spitz.

Broadcasting heavyweights such as Al Michaels, Brent Musburger and Verne Lundquist also chimed in through video.

USC athletic director Lynn Swann said if Jackson were broadcasting one of his games back in college, he felt the need to play well. Swann summed up the likable Jackson in one word: respect.

“When Keith did a game, you respected the job he did,” Swann said. “He was a consummate professional. He had the respect of all of his peers. He had the respect of all the college coaches and everybody he talked to in the games that he covered and the respect of all of the players.”

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April 15th

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USC to rely on true freshman to solve quarterback issue

From College Football News … The final practice was all well and good – there wasn’t a true spring game – but the starting quarterback for your 2018 USC Trojans wasn’t out there slinging it around quite yet.

The program is in a holding pattern until star recruit JT Daniels shows up. And there are a whole lot of eggs being put in his basket.

Matt Fink and Jack Sears have been inconsistent throughout the spring. Like any new passers working the spring kinks out, there have moments where they looked the part, and moments when they just didn’t have it at all, causing panic sirens to go off.

Offensive coordinator Tee Martin hasn’t cranked them up quite yet, and the attack will work around the ground game early on in the post-Sam Darnold era, but …

JT, it’s on you, son.

Arizona State thin at running back 

From the Arizona Republic … Arizona State’s final spring practice Friday night had a surprise guest.

“What is all this wind in Arizona?” coach Herm Edwards said after the invitation-only, 90-minute session at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium. “I never witnessed nothing like this. I thought I was back in Kansas. I was looking for Toto!”

The annual spring game unfolded much like a practice. Not much drama. A lot of reps for reserves. The highlights: Junior receiver N’Keal Harry made a nice catch, broke a tackle and sprinted to the end zone. Sophomore quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole scrambled and hit sophomore receiver Frank Darby for a score deep down the sideline.

It was sloppy at times. Too many snapping issues. Too many interceptions. But the big takeaway was Edwards himself. The former NFL coach completed his first spring, 15 sessions on the ASU practice field.

… Here are five things we learned this spring …

3. Running back could be a concern

ASU was thin all spring in the backfield. Last season’s standouts – Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage – were off preparing for the NFL draft. Junior Nick Ralston was on the opposite side, learning to play linebacker.

That pretty much left sophomores Eno Benjamin and Trelon Smith for the spring, and Benjamin sat out the last week for unknown health reasons. (He appeared to be walking with a cane Friday night.) No doubt, both Benjamin and Smith are talented, but it might not be reasonable to think they can just step in and replace the production of two accomplished backs such as Richard and Ballage.

Help arrives this summer. ASU stocked up in Edwards’ first recruiting class, adding four running backs – three freshmen and a junior-college transfer. At least one may have to play a significant role.

“Last time I checked, I like running the football,” Edwards said. “I just think when you can run the football you dictate the terms of how the game should be played.”

5. Herm is a national story

Throughout the spring, reporters from, SBNation and The Athletic came and spent time with the Sun Devils. This probably won’t stop anytime soon. Everyone it seems wants to know how this will work. The transition from previous coach Todd Graham. The Edwards hire. The NFL leadership model.

Edwards knows he’s a national story. He knows people question his hire. He knows what he says might go viral. Edwards says he doesn’t care. His job is to win football games. That’s what he intends to do, hopefully sooner rather than later.

“This is what I’ve always done my whole life – played football and coached football,” Edwards said. “I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be a head coach here.”

Continue reading story here


April 13th

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Nate Solder says goodbye and thank you to New England

From ThePlayersTribune … When the Patriots drafted me out of Colorado in 2011, I thought that the whole reason for my existence was to win football games. For most of my life, I had been pushed to be good at football — to win. And now I was going to New England, where winning is everything. So I thought it was the perfect fit. I definitely felt the pressure of being a first-round pick and being drafted to protect the blind side of the greatest quarterback in history. But I also figured that winning would alleviate that pressure. I thought winning would fix all my problems.

Because winning fixes everything, right?

Then, my rookie year came … and we won. A lot. We went 13–3 in the regular season and made it to the Super Bowl. And even though we lost to the Giants, I expected to feel a certain way after it was all over. Not necessarily happy, because we ultimately lost the game. But … satisfied. Or at least fulfilled in some way.

But I didn’t.

All I felt was emptiness.

I spent that entire off-season traveling. I had always wanted to travel, and for the first time in my life I had the money and the time. So I was on a plane to a different destination every week. Sometimes I would wake up and forget what city I was in. I was constantly on the move.

Looking back, I can see that I was searching for something. I just didn’t know what. But whatever it was, I couldn’t find it. I came back from that off-season completely deflated. Still unfulfilled.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that was just the beginning of my journey toward finding my purpose.

Since signing with the Giants last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about my journey and the seven incredible years I spent in New England. Not about the seven straight AFC championship games, or the four Super Bowls, or the two rings we won. I’ve been thinking more about the relationships my family and I made there — relationships that will last forever.

I’ve also been thinking about irony and how God works in mysterious ways. Because I was a kid who thought his entire purpose was to win, and then I went to New England, where winning is everything.

Only to learn that it’s not.

Continue reading story here


April 12th

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UCLA picks up Michigan quarterback senior transfer, Wilton Speight

From CBS Sports … Wilton Speight will not be returning to Michigan after all, announcing on Thursday his intentions to join UCLA as a graduate transfer.

Speight started for the Wolverines during each of the last two seasons but missed much of 2017 after suffering three fractured vertebrae in the Big Ten opener against Purdue on Sept. 23. After the season, he announced his intentions to transfer out of the program after earning his degree, hoping to be immediately eligible for another team in 2018.

In the time since Speight’s exit from Ann Arbor, Michigan, coach Jim Harbaugh has told both the quarterback and others that the “door is open” for a return to the team. But on Thursday, Speight put that potential to bed with an announcement on Instagram indicating his “next chapter” — and final year of eligibility — would be at UCLA.

Speight was 257 of 437 for 3,192 yards, completed 58.8 percent of his passes and had 22 touchdowns to 10 interceptions during his Michigan career.

After spending time talking to Chip Kelly and quarterbacks coach Dana Bible over the last two weeks, he has decided that UCLA, where the quarterback job is very much up for grabs, is the best place to wrap up his college career.

Mixed reactions to Cal’s hire of its new athletic director

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … I had a mixed reaction to the Knowlton hire:

He has no experience at Cal, in the UC system or at a large public university in general.

At the same time, he satisfies the No. 1 requirement as a sitting athletic director at a major college (Air Force).

His inclusion in the Hotline’s down-arrow category isn’t about credentials, however:

It’s about what comes next — about the challenges lurking the moment Knowlton stepped off the podium at the conclusion of his introductory press conference.

He has an extraordinarily difficult job, in part because chancellor Carol Christ opted to hire an athletic director before making a final decision on sports cuts.

Knowlton will navigate that treacherous path alongside Christ.

He’ll participate in the process that determines the future model for Cal’s department.

He will, quite possibly, become the public the face of a decision that calls for the elimination of four … or eight … or 14 varsity sports.

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Washington State coach Mike Leach talks about tracking a raccoon

From YardBarker … Washington State head coach Mike Leach lives in another universe. He’s a very rare bird who has a penchant for constantly keeping everyone who covers the team on their toes by conveying the most off-the-wall stories imaginable (like this).

Well, not surprisingly, Leach was back at it again on Tuesday morning. Here’s the head coach going into some detail about him tracking a raccoon, just to see where it lived.

“Tracked a raccoon one time in the snow,” Leach said. “I was in the neighborhood and I was just curious where this raccoon lived. There’s some fresh raccoon tracks. He’d been digging at somebody’s garbage. So I followed the tracks, and I don’t even know if these people know it, but he lives right in the back of their house.”

When asked why, exactly, Leach decided to investigate this little critter, he said, “It was residential enough. I was curious where this sucker lived, so I walked about a half a mile out of my way to sort that out.”

“…about a half a mile out of my way to sort that out.”


Never change, coach.


April 11th

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Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins to transfer to Indiana

Dawkins had been rumored to be talking with UCLA and Nebraska before settling on the Hoosiers

From ESPN … Indiana is adding former Arizona starting quarterback Brandon Dawkins as a graduate transfer, Dawkins told on Tuesday.

Dawkins, who started most of the 2016 season and the start of the 2017 season for the Wildcats, picked Indiana after visiting campus two weeks ago. He also took a visit to Florida Atlantic, and several other FBS programs expressed interest. Dawkins is set to graduate from Arizona next month and will be eligible immediately with one year to play.

I didn’t see a better fit for me,” Dawkins said. “I could have committed there two weeks ago. There were other schools, but at the end of the day, Indiana definitely showed that they’re interested and they wanted me, they made that clear and apparent. I really respect that about them. They weren’t going to dance around. They genuinely wanted me.”

Dawkins appeared in 22 games for Arizona, passing for 2,418 yards with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, while adding 1,582 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. He opened last season as the top quarterback before being overtaken by Khalil Tate, who has two years of eligibility left. Dawkins looks forward to competing for Indiana’s starting job and learning from offensive coordinator Mike DeBord and quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan, who played for Rich Rodriguez, Dawkins’ coach at Arizona, while both were at Michigan.

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April 10th

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Cal hires away Air Force athletic director

From the San Jose Mercury News … Cal’s long search for an athletic director has ended. The Bears introduced Jim Knowlton as their new boss this afternoon.

Knowlton, who spent the past three years overseeing Air Force athletics, steps into an exceedingly difficult situation with the Bears facing momentous decisions on the future of their 30-sport model.

Chancellor Carol Christ has said she wants a “thought partner” with whom she can navigate the process of setting a sustainable long-term structure for the Bears.

Eliminating sports teams could be part of that decision, although Christ has termed that move a “last resort.”

Knowlton has experience with bureaucracy — the UC vs. the federal government? that’s a toss-up — and, as a sitting athletic director, he satisfies a crucial criteria for the Bears.

But his lack of experience at a large public institution and limited experience running a major college department (three years) run counter to the demands he’ll face at Cal.

Prior to his time at Air Force, Knowlton was the athletic director at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Before that, he worked at Army, his alma mater, as the director of the Center for Enhanced Performance.

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Washington trades in Nike for Adidas … and $12 million per year

RelatedCU extends contract with Nike (2016), for approximately $3 million per year … from the Daily Camera

From the Seattle Times … So long, Swoosh.

Hello, Three Stripes.

The University of Washington athletic department has agreed to a 10-year deal with Adidas worth almost $12 million annually, making it one of the richest apparel deals in college athletics, The Seattle Times has learned.

The new deal ends the Huskies’ 20-year partnership with Nike, which has been paying UW about $3.5 million annually in product and cash over the past decade.

Per terms of the contract, Adidas has agreed to pay the Huskies $5.275 million annually in cash, $5.58 million annually in product and $1.1 million annually for marketing, a source with knowledge of the deal told The Times.

The deal is one of the 10 most valuable in college athletics — worth slightly more annually than the 11-year, $128-million deal Adidas gave Nebraska in 2017 — and makes the Huskies the premier program for Adidas on the West Coast.

Arizona State is the only other Pac-12 Conference school affiliated with Adidas. They agreed to an eight-year, $33.8 million deal in 2014.

In all, Adidas has partnerships with 12 college athletics programs.

Continue reading story here


April 8th

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Pac-12 major-championship drought at 14 years … and counting

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … The latest football/men’s basketball cycle is in the books, and the ‘conference of champions’ has extended its streak of not winning a championship in either sport to 14 years.

The Pac-12’s last major title came in the 2004 football season, courtesy of USC.

Since then: Loads of titles in the Olympic sports, which is impressive, but no titles in the sports that drive ticket revenue and TV viewership and merchandise sales and applications for admission and philanthropy and … OK, we’ll stop there.

How does the 14-year streak compare to peer conferences? Not very well, actually.

The ACC, American, Big East, Big Ten and SEC have all won titles in one of the major sports in the past four years.

Only the Big 12 has been shut out in that span, with its last championship coming in 2008 (Kansas basketball).

The Pac-12’s drought is four years longer than any other.

Casting an eye to 2018-19 with rosters in mind, it’s difficult to envision the streak ending.


April 7th

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Teams in need of a big turnaround includes three CU adversaries

From … Some of college football’s traditional powers have really fallen by the wayside. Sometimes they fall victim to unrealistic expectations, and other times they simply don’t recruit or play well enough to match the talent on display. One season of poor play isn’t the end of the world, but if struggles continue, it can be very bad news for a program.

Here are ten programs that underwhelmed last year and could really use a quick turnaround.

6) Nebraska

Expectations are high in Lincoln after the arrival of former quarterback Scott Frost, who’s coming off an unbeaten season at UCF. The fact that the Huskers bringing in a solid recruiting class is only going to further heighten expectations. The Huskers are coming off a 4-8 season. Prior to the poor 2017, it had been nearly 60 years since the program’s last year of five-or-fewer wins. The pressure will be on Frost to turn things around quickly. Between his status as a native son and his success at UCF, he’ll have a lot to live up to.


UCLA badly needed a turnaround after a disappointing 4-8 2016 season, and that really didn’t happen in 2017. They went 6-7 despite having Josh Rosen, a potential No. 1 overall pick, at quarterback. The inability to put it together cost Jim Mora his job. UCLA is very well-positioned for rapid improvement, if only because of the hiring of Chip Kelly and his proven record of collegiate success, which had led to some good talent following him in. With Rosen gone, the quarterback spot is wide open and leaves a big question.

10) Oregon

We go from Kelly’s new team to his old one. Oregon has never entirely recovered from Kelly’s departure for the NFL. Things took a turn for the worst halfway through Mark Helfrich’s tenure. Just as it looked like things were turning under Willie Taggart, he left for Florida State after one year. Mario Cristobal will need to deliver much-needed stability to the program — but also continued improvement to get back to national relevance. If quarterback Justin Herbert can stay healthy — they were 6-2 in games he played last year — they should be in good shape.

… Remaining teams on the list can be found here


April 6th

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From ESPN … The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily.

From the Pac-12 … Projected W/L … FPI 

No. 6 – Washington … 10.6 – 2.1 … 22.3

No. 13 – Stanford … 8.4 – 3.8 … 16.3

No. 23 – Oregon … 8.3 – 3.8 … 11.5

No. 27 – California … 7.7 – 4.4 … 9.9

No. 32 – Utah … 6.9 – 5.2 … 8.5

No. 42 – Arizona … 7.4 – 4.8 … 6.6

No. 48 – UCLA … 5.0 – 7.0 … 4.8

No. 51 – Arizona State … 5.2 – 6.8 … 3.9

No. 52 – Washington State … 6.1 – 5.9 … 3.8

No. 79 – Colorado … 4.1 – 7.9 … -4.5

No. 100 – Oregon State … 2.2 – 9.8 … -9.6


April 5th

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Arizona Board of Regents could impose $1 million fine on Sean Miller

From ESPN … The Arizona Board of Regents will vote this week whether to add language to men’s basketball coach Sean Miller’s contract that would require him to return $1 million if he’s charged with a crime or found guilty of major NCAA violations.

The amendment would be in addition to a clause in Miller’s current contract, which would require him to return $300,000 and any bonuses if he’s found guilty of major or repetitive NCAA violations.

Miller, 49, earns about $2.6 million in annual compensation, not including performance bonuses, under a contract that runs through May 2022. He is scheduled to receive $100,000 raises in base pay in each of the next three years of the deal.

The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday that the $1 million penalty would come from Miller’s longevity bonus, which is currently about $4.1 million and was established by an Arizona booster in 2014. Miller is scheduled to receive the bonus in May 2020.

Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson was one of four assistant coaches arrested by the FBI in September as part of a widespread investigation into bribes and other corruption in college basketball. Richardson is accused of accepting at least $20,000 from Christian Dawkins, a runner for sports agent Andy Miller, to influence Arizona players in choosing specific agents and financial managers once they turned pro.

Continue reading story here

Jon Wilner: Arizona Wildcats v. Villanova Wildcats – contrasting stories

From the San Jose Mercury News … One nickname, two different approaches to roster compilation, two contrasting styles of play, and two divergent NCAA tournament fates:

Watching Villanova blast through March Madness yet again, I couldn’t help but compare the Wildcats to those from Arizona.

Until a few years, let’s not forget, the programs had identical NCAA accomplishments:

One national title, one runner-up finish and four appearances in the Final Four.

Since then, their tournament performances have taken opposite paths.

Villanova just won its second championship in three years; Arizona has been bounced from the NCAAs by double-digit seeds in three consecutive tournaments.

(Two of those losses to double-digit seeds were by double-digit points, by the way.)

But based on the level of raw talent acquired and forwarded on (to the NBA) by the programs, you might expect the March results to be reversed:

Continue reading story here


April 4th

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ASU’s Herm Edwards threatening to cut players 

From … Herm Edwards is making it clear that he is trying to run his Arizona State football team like an NFL franchise.

Edwards, who is in his first year as the Sun Devils’ head coach, said on Tuesday that the program’s players are fighting for their scholarships and facing cuts.

“There was a message sent, and the message was very clear that we’re in the process of evaluating players between now and next week,” Edwards said, via the Arizona Republic. “You’re going to find whether you continue to be part of it or not. I told them that when I first took the job.”

Edwards is putting pressure on his players to compete and play their best. He’s trying to motivate them and send a message to those who are nursing injuries and not participating in spring practices.

Since this is college, you’re probably wondering whether a coach can “cut” a player the way they do in the NFL. Edwards said that they will offer financial aid to players who are cut if they want to remain as ASU students, which follows in line with student-athlete scholarship agreements.

According to the NCAA, there are only certain circumstances under which a coach can cancel a student-athlete’s scholarship, and performance on the field is not one of them. The circumstances include:

– Student-athlete becomes ineligible
– Student-athlete commits fraud
– Misconduct
– Quits the team for personal reasons

Maybe these threats and motivation will be good for the program. After all, “cuts” is a word that resonates with players more than the words used in this bizarre press release.


April 3rd

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Jon Wilner: Spring ball setting the table for make-or-break September for the Pac-12

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … Progress made in March and April sets the parameters for what can be accomplished in August, which, in turn, becomes the foundation for success in September.

About that September …

It’s bursting with marquee non-conference affairs that could set the Pac-12 on course for a first-rate fall — one filled with top-10 rankings, national media buzz, playoff contenders and New Year’s Six invitations.


The results of those very same intersectional duels will send the conference down another disappointing path, weakened and wobbly and painfully far from the glamor of the playoff chase.

The Pac-12’s make-or-break September lineup:

Oregon State at Ohio State
Washington vs. Auburn (in Atlanta)
Arizona at Houston
North Carolina at Cal
Michigan State at Arizona State
UCLA at Oklahoma
Utah at Northern Illinois
Colorado at Nebraska
USC at Texas
Stanford at Notre Dame

Those 10 intersectional games — because of the opposing team and the opposing conference — will frame the perception of the conference for the remainder of the season.

Most are squeezed into the first two weeks.

Six opponents, at least, are projected for the AP preseason top-25 poll.

Nine of the 10 games are on the road/neutral site.

And it’s all made that much more daunting by the unsettled nature of the Pac-12 offseason.

Continue reading story here


April 1st

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USC defensive tackle transferring to West Virginia

From ESPN … Defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow, once a top 25 national recruit who then suffered two major knee injuries, is transferring from Southern California to West Virginia.

Bigelow, who initially announced he was retiring from football in October before the NCAA awarded him a sixth year of eligibility, will be eligible in 2018 for the Mountaineers as a graduate transfer.

Bigelow suffered season-ending knee injuries in 2014 and 2016. Though he played sparingly for the Trojans last season, he could be a key addition for West Virginia. Earlier this week, the Mountaineers lost freshman All-American defensive tackle Lamonte McDougle, who decided to transfer.


March 31st

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CSU picks up another graduate transfer … an offensive tackle from Louisville

From the Coloradoan … The CSU football team has added offensive line depth in a big way.

T.J. Roundtree, a graduate transfer from the University of Louisville, has signed to join the Rams, the school announced Friday night.

Roundtree is a 6-foot-6, 315-pound tackle who has one year of eligibility remaining and he can play for Colorado State University in 2018.

He appeared in five games at Louisville last season and all 13 for the Cardinals in 2016. He sat out 2015 after transferring from Eastern Arizona Community College, where he played one season making three starts.

The Rams have significant turnover at offensive line after the graduation of starters Jake Bennett, Zack Golditch and Trae Moxley.

Roundtree can join the Rams at the start of the summer semester.


March 30th

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Herm Edwards doesn’t care what you think of him and the future of Arizona State

From ESPN … Herm Edwards knows exactly what you’re thinking.

He’s crazy.

His boss is crazy.

Arizona State is headed for an implosion.

He has heard the criticism of his hire: He’s been out of coaching too long and doesn’t know the college game well enough to succeed, let alone turn a Pac-12 program into a contender.

It’s of no concern to Edwards, who was named the new head coach of the Sun Devils in December after a decade away from coaching. He dismisses the notion that his return to coaching is a Power 5 publicity stunt concocted alongside ASU athletic director Ray Anderson, his longtime friend and former agent.

“I love the game of football too much, and I owe the game of football too much for me to take a job that I thought I was ill-equipped to handle,” Edwards said at a recent Sun Devils spring practice. “I’m well-equipped to handle this by all stretches of the imagination.

“I wake up going, ‘I’m in my element.’ Every time I come in here, I realize how much I missed it. [College players are] clay. They’re hopeful. They have energy, they have aspirations.”

“He’s a teacher, man,” Anderson said of Edwards. “He wanted to put the whistle back on and get out on the grass.”

Continue reading story here


March 29th

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Colorado State replaces CU void with home-and-home with Washington State

From NBC Sports … The Rocky Mountain Showdown between Colorado and Colorado State is set to expire after the 2020 meeting between the in-state rivals. With Colorado moving on filling its non-conference schedule without the Rams, Colorado State found another Pac-12 school to help fill some vacancies on the future schedule.

As first reported by, Colorado State and Washington State have lined up a future home-and-home series that will be played in 2022 and 2023. Washington State will host Colorado State on Sept. 17, 2022. Colorado State will play host to the Cougars the following season on Sept. 2, 2023.

The only other meeting between the Cougars and Rams took place in the 2013 New Mexico Bowl, with the Rams rallying to stun Washington State in a wild finish.

Colorado State will play one opponent from a power conference on n annual basis through at least 2023 with the Washington State series and will likely have at least one power conference opponent scheduled through at least 2028 with just 2024 to fill in as of now. The Rams will play three power conference opponents this fall with a neutral site game against Colorado, a home game against Arkansas, and a road game at Florida to start the season. Colorado State has future home-and-home deals with power conference opponents from the Pac-12 (Arizona, Oregon State, Washington State), Big 12 (Texas Tech), and the SEC (Arkansas, Vanderbilt).

As a member of the Pac-12, Washington State does not have a scheduling requirement to play at least one power conference opponent as schools in the ACC, Big Ten, and SEC are required. Washington State’s next non-conference game against a power conference opponent is scheduled in 2022 at Wisconsin, the week before hosting Colorado State.


March 27th

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Jon Wilner: Pac-12 revenues $100 million less than the Big Ten (with the gap getting wider each year)

From the San Jose Mercury News … With FY17 figures now available for 40 percent of the Power Five, let’s take a quick look at the updated cash ledger.

The following distributions from each conference are on a per-school basis and do not include exceptions like Notre Dame (ACC for basketball, Independent for football) or Baylor (less than full share from Big 12because of penalties).

Additionally, the conferences report on different timelines, so you’ll note a mix of actual and projected figures.
(Projections are mine, by the way.)

Fiscal year 2017

SEC: $41 million (actual)
Big Ten: $38.5 million (reported)
Big 12: $34.3 (actual)
Pac-12: $30.5 million (projected)
ACC: $26 million (projected)

Fiscal Year 2018

Big Ten: $50+ million (projected)
SEC: $43 million (projected)
Big 12: $36.5 million (projected)
Pac-12: $32 million (projected)
ACC: $28 million (projected)

Continue reading story here


March 26th

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Utah’s athletic director – the longest-tenured in the country – is retiring

Related“Shrewd and unobtrusive, Chris Hill handled the angels and demons of college athletics, and lifted the Utes in a profound way” … from the Salt Lake City Tribune

From the Salt Lake City Tribune … The moment he always knew would one day come was suddenly here, and all it took was 15 seconds for it dawn on him. His voice cracked. His eyes watered. He nervously scratched his arm. Chris Hill had a game plan Monday, and he had to execute it.

To summarize four decades in one place, to relive the ecstasy and the agony intertwined throughout 31 straight years in one job, was impossible. He even said it himself. He had to stay on track in his Monday morning news conference. Soon, in a couple of months’ time, he was no longer going to be Chris Hill, athletic director at the University of Utah. If he wavered, if he chose to single out a highlight on a field or a court, the tears would soon return and might not relent.

So he glanced down at the binder he brought out with him from behind the crimson curtain inside the Huntsman Center and tried — tried — to stick to the script.

“I gave it my best shot every day, and I got paid twice a month,” Hill said. “That’s a square deal.”

At the end of May, Hill will retire at age 68. The longest actively tenured Division I athletic director at the same school is changing direction after 31 years on the job and a historic résumé of achievements that helped launch the Utes into realms thought unattainable at one time.

Continue reading story here


March 25th

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CSU picks up transfer quarterback from Washington

From CSU Rams … Colorado State head football coach Mike Bobo announced today that former University of Washington quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels has transferred to CSU. Carta-Samuels will enroll in graduate school at Colorado State and will be eligible to play for the 2018 campaign with one season remaining.

The Saratoga, Calif., native spent 2014-17 on the roster with the Huskies, where he completed 27-of-47 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns over 25 career appearances, primarily as the backup to 2016 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and Manning Award finalist Jake Browning.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound signal-caller was one of the top-rated players at his position in the nation coming out of Bellarmine Prep in San Jose, Calif., and was rated the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in the country by He also was considered a top-25 prospect at the position by ESPN and, and chose Washington over offers from Arizona, Penn State, Vanderbilt and Boise State. Alabama and Wisconsin also had interest in the first-team All-West Catholic Athletic League quarterback.

Carta-Samuels is no stranger to big-game environments. He led a scoring drive late in a win over No. 7 Stanford in 2016 and appeared in the CFP semifinals against Alabama later that season. Carta-Samuels made his collegiate debut as a redshirt freshman for Washington against Boise State in 2015, and made his first start at Stanford that same year.

K.J.’s older brother, Austyn, was the starting quarterback at Vanderbilt in 2013 after transferring from Wyoming prior to the 2012 season. Their father, James, played at Utah State.


March 21st

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New Pac-12 Networks president Mark Shuken: “We have an obligation to be prepared for the next rights agreement”

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … Early in a recent conversation, it became clear that Mark Shuken, the new president of the Pac-12 Networks, is a believer. It became clear because he said as much.

“I believe Larry was prophetic in taking the risk,’’ Shuken said.

He was referring, of course, to Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott’s decision to create a television network wholly owned by the schools, with no partner to share the costs and provide leverage for carriage negotiations.

Before you enter full eye-roll mode, know this: Shuken is no novice.

A Santa Clara University graduate, he has spent decades in the media industry — much of it on the content-creation side with entities deeply familiar to Pac-12 fans.

He led the creation of the Lakers and Dodgers networks for Time Warner Cable, oversaw the Rivals Network (the recruiting websites) and was the CEO of DirecTV’s regional sports networks when the Pac-12 Networks were created.

Industry sources with no connections to the conference describe Shuken as bright and creative, with a deep knowledge of the media landscape; inside the conference, he has been praised for an approachable, honest management style.

… All the shortcomings were glaring at Shuken when he took command of the networks in early September.

Then again, it was a prime opportunity: The networks had nowhere to go but up, and Shuken wouldn’t be blamed for any failings.

“The downside risk is limited,” he said, “and the upside is enormous.”

Our 45-minute conversation at T-Mobile Arena during the Pac-12 tournament covered so much ground that it will be presented on the Hotline in two installments.

The first — this column — addresses the big-picture challenges facing Shuken. The second, scheduled for publication later this week, will cover a slew of other topics, including questions submitted by Hotline readers.

In both installments, you might notice the underlying theme of Shuken’s fledgling tenure: Every move is made with 2023-24 in mind.

Continue reading story here


March 20th

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Washington State picks up graduate transfer quarterback

From ESPN … Former East Carolina quarterback Gardner Minshew is transferring to Washington State, he announced on Twitter on Tuesday night.

As a graduate transfer, he will be eligible immediately.

Minshew had earlier announced that he would transfer to Alabama. A source close to Minshew told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg that the announcement was essentially to get attention from other schools and he was never likely to go to Tuscaloosa.

Minshew started five games for the Pirates last season, throwing for 2,140 yards and 16 touchdowns. He withdrew from the school after graduating after the fall semester.

At WSU, he will join a program that is mourning the loss of projected starter Tyler Hilinski, who committed suicide in January. The Cougars are light on experience at the position, and Minshew figures to compete with true freshman Cammon Cooper and juniors Trey Tinsley and Anthony Gordon for the starting job.

Alliance of American Football set to launch next spring



Eight-team professional football league with 10-week regular season and four-team playoff

Unprecedented fan participation in player and team success; Post-football career scholarship and job program; Free live-streaming and integrated fantasy play

Elimination of kickoffs and onside kicks; Shorter play clock and fewer commercial breaks; Strict head safety protocols

Dick Ebersol to serve on board of directors; Former All-Pro Justin Tuck to serve on player engagement advisory board

Former All-Pros Jared Allen, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu tapped as senior-level player relations executives

Alliance cities and coaches to be announced in local markets over next 12 weeks

… The younger Ebersol, who directed ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary on the XFL, brought in former NFL general manager Bill Polian to help oversee the league. Former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu will oversee the player side and former USC standout and executive J.K. McKay will oversee the team side. Advisors include former players Hines Ward and Justin Tuck, and Dick Ebersol.

“The Alliance of American Football represents a fundamental shift in the way we approach professional sports,” Charlie Ebersol said. “We believe fans and players are what’s most important, so our approach is simple — we’ve created an Alliance where fans and players share in the success of their teams.”

“Players have our commitment that we will seek the highest degree of safety and our support as we continue to invest in their success off the field with post-football career scholarships and financial wellness programs,” he continued. “With the expertise of Bill Polian and a leadership team of respected former All-Pro players and executives, we are committed to putting the best football product possible on the field every weekend, ensuring that 2018 will be the final year fans have to experience a six-month period without football.”

The plan, like the XFL, is to stock the league with players who don’t make it onto NFL rosters.


March 19th

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Pac-12 NCAA tournament flameout will cost the conference millions

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … The Pac-12’s woeful performance in the NCAA tournament, unprecedented as it was, could have relatively limited consequences, as noted in a Hotline column on Friday.

But there is one area in which the flameout will have a tangible impact: Revenue.

The conference lost millions of dollars over time by not sending a team to the second round, much less the second weekend.

Three bids and no victories translates to a paltry three NCAA units from the 2018 event — units that will be carried forward for six years, starting next spring.

Exactly how much money was left on the table is difficult to say, because the number of units earned varies by the year based on performance.

(Each game played is worth one unit, except for the championship.)

But let’s do some rough math …

First, we’ll establish a baseline by comparing the units earned in 2018 to the average number earned over the previous three tournaments.

From 2015-17, the Pac-12 generated an average of 12 units per tournament — nine more than its total this month.

Multiply nine uncollected units times the value of each unit next year (approximately $283,000), and you get $2.55 million in unrealized income from the NCAA’s massive tournament distribution fund.

Except it’s more than that.

Continue reading story here


March 16th

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CBS Report details the season of woe for the Pac-12

Related … “Pac-12 hits rock bottom: Assessing the carnage after epic fails in football and basketball postseasons, plus the off-court scandals” … from Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News 

From CBS Sports … The Pac-12 should have stopped while it was behind. Turns out, the high point of the week was commissioner Larry Scott complaining about USC not getting in the NCAA Tournament.

Look at this way, Larry: You can’t lose anymore.

At least there’s that for the (so-called) Conference of Champions. March Madness brought a quick and merciful end this week to what is really an ongoing problem out West.

While Arizona State and UCLA quickly bowed out in the Dayton play-in games, the Pac-12’s world came crumbling down Thursday.

Arizona got blown out by Buffalo, introducing the world at large to the Pac-12’s larger, continuing woes.

Did you know …

  • The Pac-12 finished 1-8 in bowls. That’s the worst postseason record in major-college history.
  • The league once again missed out on the College Football Playoff for the second time in four years.
  • Those late-night starts that create perception problems in the first place are never, ever going away. Ever hear of the Pacific Time Zone? At last check, a large portion of the East Coast isn’t giving up that time difference. That’s three hours of sleep it enjoys not watching Arizona-Cal kick off at 10 p.m. ET.
  • Those big-time quarterbacks are going away. USC’s Sam Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen came from the conference known for its quarterback production, but now they’re gone to the draft.
  • And who can forget the Pac-12 is the only conference to surrender both a Heisman (2005) and a national championship (2004)? Thank you Reggie Bush.

At least United Airlines only had a bad week.

… Yes, this is a time to pile on mostly because everywhere you turn, the Pac-12 is doing what it can to separate itself from the Power Five. Nothing official, mind you, but consider ….

  • The league is dead last in Power Five revenue, buzz and cable juice. It would be charitable to say the Pac-12 Networks have been an abject failure.
  • More folks have the C-Span 2 app on their phone than have P12N on their cable systems.
  • While the Big Ten and SEC networks take over the world, the ACC is launching its own network next year with partner ESPN. The key word there is “partner.” The Pac-12 doesn’t have one to defray the costs of televising itself.

The league doesn’t know how to get out of its own way — or schedule. Last season, four football programs were made to play Friday night conference games on the road after playing the previous Saturday.

USC, UCLA, Washington and Washington State all lost. It’s one thing having two playoff-chasing programs lose those games (USC, Washington), it’s another to knowingly schedule those short weeks in the first place.

These trends are cyclical, sure, but right now a once-proud conference is dizzy from running in circles.

Continue reading story here


March 13th

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Pac-12 task force announces sweeping reforms for collegiate basketball

From the Pac-12 … The Pac-12 Conference announced today the recommendations of its Task Force, formed in the wake of federal indictments announced last fall, which propose unprecedented reform of collegiate basketball, including an end to the “one and done,” tougher enforcement independent from the NCAA, and sweeping changes to rules governing recruitment.

The recommendations of the Task Force were included in a detailed 50-page report, “Men’s Basketball Task Force Report & Recommendations,” available here at, and approved unanimously by the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors this past Saturday. They have been sent to the NCAA Commission being chaired by former Secretary of State (and Stanford University Provost) Condoleezza Rice, which is looking into the same college basketball issues. The proposed reforms, intended to improve compliance and reduce abuses associated with the influence of commercial third parties, fall into four groups: NCAA eligibility, NCAA enforcement practices, recruitment practices, and compliance education for prospective student-athletes and their families.

“The reforms proposed by our Pac-12 Task Force will help preserve the integrity of collegiate basketball and provide the choice, education and protection that our student-athletes deserve,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.  “We look forward to working with the NCAA Commission, our fellow conferences, the NBA and its Players Association, and other key stakeholders to bring about this much needed change.”

“Now is the time to step up and make changes to both restore trust in our game and protect the best interest of our student-athletes,” said Dan Guerrero, UCLA Athletic Director, former chairman of the NCAA Selection Committee for the Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament and a member of the Task Force. “We need to reform our rules, strengthen their enforcement, and rebuild confidence both in the integrity of our sport and of the educational mission of our universities.”

The task force includes experienced experts in all aspects of collegiate basketball, including several Hall of Famers, former student-athletes, a faculty representative, and more. The full list of members, and the groups it consulted with during its deliberations, is included in the report.

Among the Task Force’s recommendations are:

End “One and Done,” and Preserve Eligibility of Athletes Who Are Drafted but Don’t Sign:  The Conference calls on the NBA to end “one and done” by dropping its ban on drafting athletes directly from high school, and at the same time refrain from drafting those players who do choose college until three years after their high school graduation. The Conference believes that this will reduce the incentives to engage in behavior that violates NCAA rules, enable those who have the opportunity to play in the NBA after high school to do so, and help ensure that those young people who come to college genuinely want to engage as students. This is similar to existing rules in baseball and other sports. Together with that recommendation, the Conference urges that the NCAA change its rule so that, again similar to baseball, a drafted athlete can decline to sign – with the advice of a competent and certified agent — and retain his NCAA eligibility.

Create a New Enforcement Unit Independent of NCAA:  The Conference believes decisive steps must be taken to ensure strong and even enforcement of these new rules as well as existing ones. It recommends creation of a new unit independent of the NCAA to conduct investigations and pursue major violations. It also suggests separation of the various enforcement roles – investigative, adjudicative, and punitive – and more investment in the resources available for enforcement.

Take Control of and Regulate Recruitment Process: The Conference recommends shifting the recruiting process away from independent tournaments run by shoe/ apparel companies and other promoters to new regional “combine” events to be co-sponsored by the NCAA and other organizations. It also recommends changes in the rules governing campus visits to create more transparency over who pays for them and to reduce the incentive for improper payments by third parties.

Fully Disclose Shoe/Apparel Deals: The Conference calls for full disclosure of the terms of shoe and apparel contracts with coaches and universities.

Provide Access to Professional Agents and Strengthen Education:  The Conference calls for the development of educational programs aimed at ensuring youngsters and their families don’t – either through inadvertence or poor advice – squander their chances for a potentially life-changing scholarship.  In support of this, the Conference recommends educational programs for young players starting in their sophomore year of high school, and access to professional guidance from agents. It also recommends establishment of a mentorship program for elite high school players, whose families are often overwhelmed by pressures from agents, shoe companies, recruiters, and others.

In addition to these and other recommendations, the Task Force identified a variety of practices it believes institutions can take to strengthen their compliance programs and help their student-athletes from running afoul of the rules, including guidance in their engagement of agents as they contemplate professional athletic careers.

“The Task Force can be very proud of this accomplishment,” Scott said. “They have produced bold, specific, and actionable recommendations in a very short time. I am confident that these recommendations will receive wide support, and we look forward to working with the NCAA and our colleagues across all sports to make these ideas a reality and restore public confidence in the great game of college basketball.”


March 12th

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Presumed starting quarterback for CSU tears ACL

From the Coloradoan … Presumed 2018 CSU starting quarterback Collin Hill has re-injured his left knee and will miss at least spring practice and possibly at least part of the 2018 season.

Hill, who tore his left ACL on Oct. 8, 2016, was medically cleared but redshirted last season as the Rams were led at quarterback by senior Nick Stevens.

Coach Mike Bobo announced Monday afternoon that Hill suffered a torn ACL in his left knee while playing basketball Thursday.

The school said he’ll have surgery Wednesday. A school spokesperson said Bobo was not available for further comment Monday.

Hill will miss all of spring practice, which is scheduled to begin March 19. There is no word yet on if he’ll be available at any point during the 2018 season, which begins with a home game against Hawai’i Aug. 25.

A torn ACL recovery can take anywhere from six to 12 months.

Continue reading story here

Former Washington State player sues Mike Leach over dismissal

From Deadspin …. Washington State football coach Mike Leach has said he has a policy that any player who commits one of three acts will get kicked out of the program: violence against women, illegal drugs, and stealing. One former Cougars player is suing because he says he was unfairly dismissed, and Leach isn’t actually consistent with his rules.

Cornerback Zaire Webb and receiver Anthony White Jr. were dismissed from the team in October, a day after Pullman Police cited them for misdemeanor third-degree theft at a Walmart. A few days later, the school informed Webb that his scholarship would be pulled at the beginning of 2018. He was allowed to appeal but says he wasn’t allowed to attend or participate. In December, the charges against Webb were dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

Webb’s lawsuit, filed March 2 in Whitman County Superior Court, argues that Leach inconsistently applied the rule to him. The suit lists examples of other players who have broken the “three sins” policy and weren’t kicked off the team. Linebacker Logan Tago took a plea deal after he was charged with felony robbery and assault in 2016 for mugging a guy for a six-pack of beer. (The Cougars recently used Tago’s mandated community service as a feel-good story.) He’s still on the roster.

Former cornerback Daquawn Brown was charged with felony second-degree assault in March of 2014 after he allegedly punched a man and woman in the faces during a night out. He was allowed to play in the 2014 season and led the team in tackles before Leach dismissed him in December of that year. Receiver Grant Porter was arrested and booked on a domestic-violence charge in November of 2017 for allegedly grabbing his girlfriend’s neck and pushing her to the floor. The lawsuit says he is still on the spring roster.

A Washington State spokesperson says Porter is suspended indefinitely, and the school has no comment on the lawsuit. Webb’s complaint argues that these are all examples of Leach’s “firm” policy instead being totally arbitrary. The 18-year-old is asking for unspecified damages suffered.

Continue reading story here


March 10th

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Proposal: Paying college athletes has some “wiggle room”

From CBS Sports … Amateurism has always been ingrained into the college athletics landscape, but based on a recent conversation the Associated Press had with NCAA president Mark Emmert, it appears that there’s at least a little wiggle room in defining the term.

“There’s a lot of discussion about the Olympic model, and [I] think it’s well deserving of serious consideration inside the context of college sports,” Emmert said.

So let’s create that model within the context of college sports using three criteria:

  • Players should be allowed to earn money off their names and athletic ability
  • The integrity of the “student” aspect of “student-athlete” should be maintained
  • The ability for teams to use their visibility (earning power) as a recruiting tool should be limited

All of this is attainable with relative ease. Let players earn money throughout their careers through endorsement deals that are part of the existing apparel contract structure with a set limit and add in room for legitimate endorsement deals from local and regional businesses.

Continue reading story here

NCAA revenue tops $1 billion for the first time

From ESPN … The NCAA pulled in more than $1 billion in revenue for the first time in history during the 2016-17 school year.

The $1.06 billion in revenue from September 2016 through August 2017 is reported in audited financials the organization released on Wednesday.

The majority of the revenue came from its usual source — the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The NCAA pulled in $761 million from the 2017 NCAA tournament. That number is set to rise to $869 million this year.

The NCAA also generated $129.4 million in ticket revenue and $60 million in marketing rights for the 2017 fiscal year.

The NCAA’s expenses were $956 million. The largest chunk of that spending went to dispersing $560.3 million back to its roughly 1,100 member institutions in 24 sports in all three divisions, as well as $200 million for a one-time payment the NCAA made to schools to fund additional programs.

Another $160.5 million went to the Division I performance fund, which awards conferences based on how many teams play in the NCAA tournament and how far they advance. Units are paid out over six years.

The NCAA also recorded a $209 million settlement related to those past athletes who argued the value of their scholarships was illegally capped. A $70 million concussion testing and diagnosis settlement also hangs in the balance. The organization noted that it is still negotiating with its insurance carriers.


March 6th

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USC star wide receiver arrested on five counts of domestic violence

From ESPN … The Los Angeles city attorney’s office has filed five misdemeanor counts against USC wide receiver Joseph Lewis related to two separate domestic violence incidents, according to a spokesman.

Lewis, who is expected to be arraigned Tuesday, faces one count of domestic battery with an injury for an alleged incident that took place Feb. 5, and another two counts of the same charge for another alleged incident Feb. 11. He also has been charged with false imprisonment and domestic battery without an injury, according to Frank Mateljan of the city attorney’s office.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to file felony chargesagainst Lewis following his arrest on Feb. 12. Police have not provided further details about the circumstances that led to the arrest.

In the wake of the arrest, USC suspended Lewis from all football-related activities and released the following statement:

“USC takes all reports of domestic abuse seriously and is cooperating fully with the law enforcement investigation. While this student code of conduct issue is being investigated, the student has been suspended from all football-related activities. Student disciplinary records and student conduct proceedings are confidential at USC and protected by law.”

Lewis did not appear on USC’s official roster for spring practice when it was released Monday.

Lewis, a Los Angeles native, was the No. 1-ranked receiver for the Class of 2017 on the ESPN 300. He caught four passes for 39 yards as a true freshman this past season, but his role was expected to grow as USC replaces two of its top three receivers in 2018.

Larry Scott not optimistic about a deal with DirecTV

From Awful Announcing … We’ve covered the travails of the Pac-12 Network’s efforts to get carried on DirecTV since 2012 and every year, it’s been the same thing. DirecTV balks at bringing Pac-12 Network and its multiple channels on board, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott laments not being distributed by the satelllite provider, and the trains shall never meet.

Over the years, Pac-12 Networks have been picked up in China and most recently in Canada, but DirecTV remains a holdout for fans in the U.S.

n a recent interview with Seattle radio station KJR, Scott was asked whether fans will ever see the Pac-12 Networks on DirecTV and he was rather blunt:

“That’s the way it looks. I’ve got no reason to believe that’s going to change. We’ve tried a lot of different angles with them, including a relationship with AT&T and offering benefits on campuses, and that hasn’t gotten it done.”

When AT&T purchased DirecTV in 2015, there was optimism that things could change as the company had a sponsorship deal with the Pac-12 and its U-Verse systems carried the networks. There was even a signal test that was caught by sharp-eyed viewers, but talks collapsed and there’s no sign that the two sides will ever get close again.

Continue reading story here


March 5th

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Former Michigan offensive coordinator joins USC as a position coach

From ESPN … Former Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno has been named USC’s new running backs coach and running game and pass protection coordinator, USC coach Clay Helton announced Monday.

Drevno, who was the Trojans’ running game coordinator and offensive line coach in 2014, replaces Deland McCullough, who left the Trojans in January to coach running backs for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“We are very excited to welcome back Tim to the Trojan Family,” Helton said in a statement. “Through his experiences with elite college program and in the NFL, he has gained a reputation as a great teacher and he has grown his expertise in both the run game and pass protection. Adding Tim to our coaching staff will help continue the success we have had offensively and will help us reach our goal of winning a national championship.”

Continue reading story here

Oregon assistant coaches will earn a combined $5.345 million

Note … CU assistant coach total is up to $3,065,644 this year …

From the Oregonian … Oregon’s newest assistant football coach is working under a two-year deal in Eugene.

According to records released by the university, Alex Mirabal will earn $300,000 annually as part of a contract set to expire Jan. 31, 2020.

He will coach Oregon’s guards and centers while graduate assistant Cody Woodiel will coach tackles. Head coach Mario Cristobal, as a lifelong offensive line coach, will continue to oversee the position group as the overall line coach.

Mirabal’s hiring completed a 10-assistant staff that will earn a combined $5.345 million in 2018. With Cristobal’s salary included, the Ducks will spend $7.845 million on coaches’ base salaries this season, an increase of $1 million from last season’s cost to hire nine assistants and head coach Willie Taggart.

Continue reading story here


March 4th

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Rule change proposals include fair catches on kickoffs

From ESPN … The NCAA Football Rules Committee announced it has proposed a new rule that would allow players to call for a fair catch inside their own 25-yard line on kickoffs and have it result in a touchback, giving their team the ball at the 25.

“The committee discussed the kickoff play at great length, and we will continue to work to find ways to improve the play,” said North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, the chair of the committee. “We believe making one change will allow us to study the effect of this change in terms of player safety.”

The potential change, which was made with player safety in mind, will be sent to coaches and conferences for feedback in the coming weeks. It still needs to be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss it — and other proposed rule changes — April 13.

Among the other proposals is a tweak to speed up the pace of play. After touchdowns and kickoffs, a 40-second play clock would go into effect, designed to eliminate what has been considered dead time.

“In discussions with the college football community, the committee’s goal is to identify ways to keep the game moving and reducing as much as possible the down time in the stadium,” Steve Shaw, the secretary-rules editor, said in a statement. “These changes will not take plays out of the game, but will positively impact the flow of the game.”

Another timing change approved by the committee would implement a 10-second runoff when instant replay overturns the ruling on the field inside of one minute in either half and the correct ruling would not have stopped the game clock.

Additionally, the committee has proposed eliminating blocks below the waist more than five yards from the line of scrimmage and requiring that all blocks below the waist, with the exception of those from interior linemen, must be from the front.

Other significant changes

  • The addition of a 10-second runoff was approved when instant replay overturns the ruling on the field inside of one minute in either half and the correct ruling would not have stopped the game clock.
  • The committee approved the continuation of a collaborative instant-replay decision-making model that is not limited to the press box in the stadium.
  • Leaping rules on field goals and extra points were adjusted to mirror similar rules dealing with leaping the shield on punting plays. It is illegal to leap over the frame of the body of an opponent.
  • On successful field goals, penalty enforcement will be the same as on made extra points. Namely, all personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct fouls by the defending team will have the option to be enforced on the ensuing kickoff.



March 3rd

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Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst to transfer to Tennessee 

From CBS Sports … Plenty will be changing for Tennessee Volunteers football this season, and it’s now clear the quarterback room will be part of that overhaul as Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst announced late Thursday night that he has decided to head to Knoxville as a graduate transfer this offseason.

Chryst has played in 23 games over the last three years for Stanford, completing 55.4 percnet of his passes for 1,926 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions. He took over as starter midway through the 2016 season but was ultimately benched during 2017 for K.J. Costello, who looks to continue leading the Cardinal next season.

The announcement came via Twitter on Thursday night, one week after Chryst visited Tennessee. He will compete with Jarrett Guarantano, Will McBride and three-star true freshman JT Shrout for the starting job in 2018. Guarantano led the way for the Vols most of the way through 2017 but finished 2-6 over games in which he had at least 12 attempts. McBride saw action in two games but primarily played in a blowout loss to Missouri.


March 1st

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Sirius XM Pac-12 channel launches on Monday

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … Specifics have finally emerged on the new Pac-12 Sirius XM channel.

The news was first reported by the SportsBusiness Journal, but Sirius just issued a press release with the same details.

Here’s what we know …

Launch date: March 5 (Monday), two days before the Pac-12 tournament starts in Las Vegas.

(That always seemed to be the unofficial deadline for an endeavor that was unveiled months ago:

(If it wasn’t up and running in time for March Madness, then why not wait until football training camp.)

Sirius channel: 373, with streaming available through the SiriusXM app.

Programming details: Morning and afternoon talk shows, game broadcasts, a call-in component, coaches shows and, per the release, broadcasts of classic games.

Continue reading story here


43 Responses to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. buffalobilly

    Does anyone else notice the physical differences in say, the size and looks of the Buffs bball

    team and the Big East….or even the Big Ten. My God , our guys look like junior highers. Players like M. Bridges, and so many others , (too many to name), look like 6 year nba vets. Geesh, Tad, recruit some men.

    • Old Codger

      Funny….those “little boys” managed to play straight-up with virtually every team they played, Bey, in particular! Contrast Bey’s “scrawniness” and his obvious talent.

      Size alone doesn’t defend threes and it was TO’s that mostly killed the Buffs this year, not any lack of physicality!

  2. buffnaustin

    But…but….but I’m supposed to hate the Evil Empire. I guess I will go back to just hating the Raiders. Touching story on Nate Solder.

  3. Great story on Nate, Stu. Thanks for finding and sharing it.

    Go Buffs.

  4. Rob Thompson

    Way to go Huskies! Wish the Buffs could tag on 12 mill a year since TV money is peanuts in the PAC 12!

  5. ep

    Si Miller has to cough up a million bucks and I’m sure a promise to quit cheating will be included…sheeeesh.
    You wonder what it would take for AU to send Miller down the road. If he murdered another PAC 12 head coach they would probably give him a raise

  6. VKBerlin

    ASU Football ol Herm is in charge there

    ASU will practice at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Kajikawa practice fields. Practices are open to the public.

  7. ep

    As an exclamation point to all this was the way Buffalo beat AZ. They pushed around Sweaty’s boys like children on defense. Undoubtedly Tad will watch the film if he didnt see it the first time around. It was the closest thing I have seen since Richardson’s 40 minutes of hell at Arkansas.
    At the same time Buffalo’s Harris attacked the rim with impunity. Even the 100 thousand dollar baby couldnt help much.
    It looked to me like the AZ players wilted and never made any kind of a push back. There wasnt a sense of entitlement there…was there? (heh heh). I laugh at the AZ Regents or whoever in their hierarchy gave Sweaty a vote of confidence

    • AZBuff

      to ep and others:
      You hit it on the head. The discussion down here after the humiliating defeat was that this was a soft team and that all the past teams from AZ that have done well in the tournament were nasty, and tough. Not this one though. These thoughts were not from just fans but the people that cover the team, and even I think from some of the ex-players etc. so I take credence in the sources.

      From just the starting five of UofA’s team, most likely 4 could be in the NBA or D League next year. How many from the Buffalo team can one say that about? Very disappointing loss when you consider the talent on the floor and even on the bench.

      The question now is will Miller be coaching here next year, and also they have not one committed recruit for next years team and they lose about 7 off this team.

      I hope the schedule allows a home and home next year with the Buffs, as they should win both games.

    • Old Codger

      Two thirds of AZ’s starters were on their cell phones with their agents BEFORE that game discussing their NBA deals-to-come! Why should they bother playing hard against a bunch of thugs from back East? They could get hurt!

      That, plus a season exposed to Pac 12 refs who called “fouls” on them if they breathed too hard on opponents or touched them ever so lightly, hardly prepared AZ players from the Barroom brawl that erupts in March Madness, when very often, officials live by a “No blood? No foul” philosophy.

  8. 83buff

    About the only thing Frost will win in the Big 10 is roster size.

    • Old Codger

      Last I heard roster size was limited by NCAA rule; unlike the “Glory Days” of the vaunted “County Scholarships- Walk-on” deal that Dr Tom used to skirt the schollie limit.

  9. 83buff

    Why is Hagan the lowest paid coach? Does he take a lower salary intentionally? It seems like he should be paid more given his tenure on the staff and importance to Buffs football history. The best CU player of all time, in my opinion.

  10. klartext

    “Murphy’s is an extra smooth and wonderfully palatable Stout,” added Hilinski.

  11. Bufftrax

    Okay…. so, stars don’t mean a thing, right (?) Then why is it that the BUFFS can’t get a higher rated favorite player than a 3 star ? (We get very few). Eight (8) of the PAC-12 teams have at least a 4*, including USC with a five (5*).

    As disappointing is the fact the Buffs are rated 12th – bottom of the barrel – by today’s recruits who rank CU’s “Brand” as the lowest in the Pac-12. Did we make a mistake opting for the PAC-12 when the Buffs and being in Boulder were more attractive (my opinion) than the other Big-12 schools/teams. Face it, the front range, the mountains and the Flat Irons are hard to beat when you throw in CU’s academics to top the cake….. that is, if you are competing for athletes and students in the Big-12 conference. (Of course, that conference does have some highly ranked academic schools).

    Now, we are competing with other beautiful areas and cities for recruits – cities that have oceans, beautiful deserts, mountains and colleges with high academic standards. My take. How about you Stuart ?

    • Old Codger

      “Okay…. so, stars don’t mean a thing, right (?)”


      Last time I checked UCLA and Stanford had about seventy 4-stars between them, including at QB…..

      How’d that work out for Jim Mora? And how’d Furd make out last time they played the few-star Buff squad?

  12. ep

    I always try and keep politics out of sports areas but when politics invades you cant. While not a direct attack on education this massive tax is still another attack on educational institutions. Universities are full of commies dontcha know.
    Maybe if universities agreed to teach creation……..arrrghhhh

  13. ep

    IMO the heisman has always been a joke. After playing one half a game the Alabama freshman QB is already 4th on the list. Its all about the hype. Every winner has had a team full of 5 and 4 stars helping by opening holes, pass blocking, and suffocating the opposing O’s. VK may not be heisman material (probably always rides a cart) but if he was behind Stanford or the Tide’s O line and there were tickets to the Masters waiting for him in the endzone……..he might at least get a first down.

    • AZBuff

      Why when I read the kid’s name from Bama on the Heisman list I immediately thought, whattha? EP you hit it on the head or was it John Heisman’s head. Hype hype hype, what a joke.

    • buffnaustin

      We could do the same thing. We could call it the CUATTHEGAME Player of the Year.
      Most everyone on here is as knowledgeable as the Heisman voters.

    • VKBerlin

      Wow!! OH BOY!! Mountain Brook in babble mode.

      Just cause I pointed out your elbow/beer-in-hand/drooling/eye-blinking-nods and interest to/for that ol bartender lady…you spit this out?

      Very funny………..and probably true. But I would be winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award……………again……………And yes walking is not possible for me. I may have already told you why…………jog your memory……. …AZ? forget it too much open space in that noggin.

      Snowy cold……….no golf……..basement putting. Built the house…….have a hole built in the floor with a standard cup and a flag. GolfTech for a little technical work.


      Note: Now AZ, went down to the thrift store and got one of those windmills you see in gardens? Little modification and I am now ready to challenge you on that famous “W” hole.

      • ep

        My apologies if I touched on any real life physical limitations. My memory is one of mine. My intent was entirely to make fun of the heisman with your assistance.

  14. VKBerlin

    Sounds like the perfect date for you.

  15. VKBerlin

    He is for AZ. Watch and see.

    This is his deal.

    Wonder if he will go

    2 and 25 in the pac 12

    his first three years.

    Like yur idol.


    Also no chance he would hire bernardeee or lindy or baer……

  16. ep

    cant wait to see what the NCAA does …or doesnt do….about the U of A. This on top of the BB recruiting violations.
    Screen shots are pretty serious evidence. It sounds like Rodriguez spread his infection to the team.
    Cant even imagine the cacophony and shrieking from the Denver Post, NPR AND the NCAA if this crap went on in Boulder.
    There are always exception to the rule (Tumpkin) but I will give Mac credit for doing his best to vet his coaches and recruit’s character.

    • ep

      oh yeah
      and just a warning to wildcat fans. Even with the house cleaning, and especially if thee NCAA leaves something under the rug, it may be at least a year or 2 before a lot of mommas let their kids sign a letter of intent there.

  17. CU again ranks low even in the “have nots” category …..I think Tad Bolyes 1 year extension suggests the degree of commitment the Administration has for Basketball..which is mediocre at best…is Tad perhaps CU’s most successful BB coach?? …arguably yes..and his NOW EIGHT YEAR RECORD is below average…… …..and I believe this extension Tad received more than hints “what’s behind the curtain” as we are so often sold “we are in the business of championships”..



    No your not……..and Mac2’s Pac 12 future doesn’t not look like Rainbows and Lollipops….

    the real questions are Does CU have the economic resources to compete in the Pac 12 AND What exactly is the administrations commitment to wining??

    Tad Boyles extension I believe speak volumes….8 year track record it…puts his program in the lower 3rd of the conference and nationally?? below the mendosa line…saying “Hey wait a minute you idiot, he’s the most successful BB coach in CU history!!!!”


    • VKBerlin

      T That ol Aussie camp song comes to mind.

      “Waltz me around by my Willy”

      Clearly your “have not” moment is not having a CU degree.

      Clearly you were not allowed to attend CU.

      Clearly you hold a grudge.

      Clearly it is a lifelong impact situation on you.

      It’s okay ol Lill Will, there are plenty of you. Forced to CSU or Kornkob kommunity kollege, or the desert or “rainville”….You can be found everywhere.

      A sad conglomeration of people who received the infamous letter from CU………REJECTED

      So your willy lot in life is a little willy.

      And as they sing on the big screen..

      Don’t Cry for Me Willlllllly Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”

      Note to Willy: Your use of “I think” indicates a serious flaw in your make up and your use of “I believe” indicates weakness identified what you say you believe.

      Good night Willy. Clean off your sign.

  18. Old Codger

    Benson was a Ath. Dept. supporter before you were born, Kevin! So we will excuse your ignorance of support at the highest levels. Who do you think hired Rick George anyway? Howdy Doody Hickenlooper? (I will admit that the “tiny little projects” at CU Med and UCCS (virtually two entirely new campuses) may have distracted him a bit.)

    ALL CU sports are thriving, (women’s BB excepted). Volleyball, soccer, XC, Men’s BB, FB are all headed in a most positive direction, and that without a major sugar-daddy or a local population/potential fan base made up of carpet-baggers, from everywhere else! (If I had a nickle for every college decal from places outside CO that I see daily, I’d have joined VK on the armchair QB couch long ago! Well, maybe not, since unlike VK, I’ve actually coached sports.
    No, VK, coaching elbow-bends in the 19th Hole doesn’t count!)

    • VKBerlin

      Team Tiddly Winks don’t count dodder. Even if you did wing the block party tournament.


      You a coach…………..Lindy relative…………..

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